Lowe: Reno trip offers vacation, first-time bowling experience

I heard the term “Reno fatigue” so many times last year when the USBC Open was in Baton Rouge after a couple of years in Reno, Nev., before and then the two years after the trip to Baton Rouge.

We wrote about it. We discussed it with bowlers and wondered what the actual future of the tournament would be.

Last week, I got my chance to go to Reno and see the National Bowling Stadium to try to improve my scores from last year in my inaugural bowling attempt at the Open.

I thank Ricky Achord for allowing me to join his group this year, and let me say exactly what I said last year — I am hooked on being able to bowl this country’s top bowling event.

Now to Reno. Other than the 13 hours I had to spend in the Reno airport before I could board a flight to return home (another story for another time), I wanted to turn my bowling adventure into something I rarely do — a real vacation. That’s what I did. I traveled to Lake Tahoe. I drove through the mountains. I did the things you do as a tourist.

I also took the opportunity to bowl the side event at Grand Sierra, and as always, Rick Ramsey runs a good event over there. I probably should have bowled one more time before I bowled the big tournament, but who knows.

Now this was my first visit, believe it or not, to the National Bowling Stadium. It is an impressive facility, and from what I understand, the city has tried to clean up the immediate area around it in recent years. The stadium is in the midst of a multi-million dollar renovation that will change it each time bowlers come to Reno, such as in 2014.

But it is an impressive place. I nearly got a nose bleed going straight up to on the escalator to the fourth floor where the lanes were. One thing that was great was the opportunity to re-establish with some of the tournament staff who spent almost a year in Baton Rouge — people like Matt Cannizarro in PR, tournament director Duane Hagen, the people who work in the paddock and as lane monitors and also my bowling writer colleague, Jeff Richgels, who will take to the lanes later this week.

The NBS is big, and lanes just seem to go forever, even with a wall built before the last 10 lanes where the Bowler’s Journal event was held. The approaches seem so long and the pins looked so small. I walked in with a goal to take the 1,394 all-events in Baton Rouge (155 average) and try to shoot 1,530 (170 average).

After the team event, the Baton Rouge group was trying to keep all sharp objects away from me after a 424, worse than anything I shot in the River Center. I thought for sure there had been a mistake, and the team pattern was last year’s BR pattern. To top it off, my doubles and singles were scheduled for 7 a.m. the next morning.

Now, a week later, I will say that time wasn’t so bad. I was awake and on a different pattern and shot 560 and 544 to finish at 1,528, just off my goal.

My partner, Mike Schroeder, and I are in the top 80 in classified doubles, and will get a check back, so I would consider it a success.

Again, a lot of times, as we wrote so often in this space last year, the journey and the people you get to visit with are part of the experience and helps determine success and failure of the trip. The Baton Rouge company was wonderful, it was great to take time and visit with friends from the tournament, and I have to admit Reno is an OK place to me.

I still have to wonder when the USBC announced last week the building of a facility by the South Point Casino in Las Vegas to host multiple tournaments in the future, what exactly the USBC Open Tournament will look like in Baton Rouge in 2025. With the changes set to take effect next year, we know the Women’s Championship will look different when it comes to BR in 2017.

However it goes, I’m happy to be a part of it now as both a writer and a bowler.

Terrell Owens

By the way, I got to Reno in time to watch former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens bowl in the tournament with PBA CEO Tom Clark and others. It brought a nice crowd out to the NBS, the USBC webcasted the event, and the local media (which apparently found something to cover in this tournament) was on hand.

Some were calling it a publicity stunt, and that’s fine if you do. While it was good publicity for the tournament, it was also good to see Owens take the event seriously and have a pretty good showing, rolling 1,508.

Remember, he was the only celebrity owner you saw at every match the Dallas Strikers bowled on TV. Granted they were taped in a short time period, but he was there, while some either showed just for the live show or finals or not at all. I salute him for getting out there and making a serious effort to bowl the event.

Hopefully, like me, it’s not a one-time shot.

Honor roll notes

Sumner Taylor led the way at Circle Bowl with an 810 series that included a 279 game, while Mary Mansur led the ladies with a 733 series (267 game).

The youth bowlers had Deontrae Taylor at the top of the board with a 791 set (244, 300, 247), while Vernon Landry shot 709 (264) to top senior league bowlers.

Junior bowler Jade Villeneuve bowled a 299 game as part of a 774 set, while Dalton Allen and Ricky Moran Jr. each also shot 299. Vance Baldwin just missed perfection with 298, and Joan Rogers had a first 500 of 556.

Back in two weeks on May 28 to talk about the state U.S. Open qualifier and good news for local bowlers in that. Don’t forget the one-night-only return of no-tap Saturday at Metro Bowl.

Until next time, good luck and good bowling.